I attended SATURN 2015 in Baltimore and presented a talk with my colleague Rebecca Wirfs-Brock on looking at how agile organizations can include quality as part of their mindset. I’ve been working on this area for quite a few years and have been actively writing and working with organizations teaching and mentoring in thie area. Rebecca and I are committed to changing the standard mindset where some of these core principles can get overlooked or put off in many agile teams. We’ve both presented workshops and I’m looking forward to our presentation at SATURN.

It was exciting to hear that Rebecca and I won the New Directions award for our talk on this topic while at SATURN. The following is from one of the papers we’ve written on the topic.

As organizations transition to agile processes, the role of Quality Assurance (QA) needs to evolve. Nothing prevents QA from being involved throughout the development process, but often this does not happen. Unfortunately, many QA people only become involved late in the development process, just before it was necessary to test and release the final product. This has been so primarily because of a different mindset between QA in traditional software processes and Agile QA. Generally, QA’s primary responsibility is to certify the functionality of the application based upon the contract and requirements; usually with black-box tests. Most QA groups work independently from the software team. However, in Agile, QA works closely with the team on an ongoing and daily basis.

Not focusing on testing early enough can cause significant problems, delays and rework. Correcting functional flaws can be time-consuming. But correcting performance or scalability deficiencies can require significant changes and modifications to the system’s architecture. If important system qualities are considered and addressed during earlier sprints, significant architectural verification could be performed much earlier, preventing significant disruptions or delays as architectural flaws are corrected. Agile teams incrementally deliver working software. Incremental delivery provides an opportunity to engage in QA activities much earlier, ensuring that in addition to functionality, important system qualities can be addressed in a timely fashion, rather than at the end of development.

QA in agile groups can benefit by being more proactive, working to ensure quality at all levels of the development process. Consequently, they can and do work closely and coordinate between business, management and developers. To be effective, Agile QA teams require additional skills to those of a “more traditional” QA team. For example, they often need to know how to understand the code, know how to write their own automated suite cases, and be involved in all parts of the agile process.

An important principle in most agile practices is the “Whole Team” concept. It isn’t just testers who care about quality. Ideally, agile testing involves a cross-functional agile team, with special expertise contributed by testers [CG]. Agile developers write unit tests to exercise system functionality. But there is more to quality than unit testing. Therefore having QA be a part of the team from the start can help build quality into system and make attention to quality part of a more streamlined process. This will help the team to know what system qualities are important and how they fit into the process (when to do what for different qualities). Another benefit of including QA is that they can help the team understand and validate requirements. QA also can help the product owner understand what quality attributes should be considered and when. And QA can assist the product owner with the definition of done which often needs to incorporate many important system qualities in addition to system functionality.

I’m once again returning to Japan and looking forward to seeing my friends and colleagues there.

I’ll be arriving in Tokyo on the March 4th. I’ll take in the sites before working with Hironori Washizaki Research Group on Software Modeling Patterns and Evalution Software Models including Refactoring.  I may also meet with an agile group while there. My main reason for the trip besides collaborating with Hiro will be to attend AsianPLoP 2015: 4th Asian Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs which runs from March 5-7.

At AsianPLoP, I will be hosting a workshop about Shepherding and also I will be presenting a focus Group with Rebecca Wirfs-Brock on Processes for Making Lively Things which is related to Alexander’s Nature of Order., In addition to the workshop, I’ll be presenting a paper called “Patterns for Initial Architectural Design on Agile Projects”, with Eduardo Guerra and Rebecca Wirfs-Brock.

I’m staying until March 14th where I will be collaborating with Takashi Iba at COINs 15. I’m also meeting and collaborating with a good friend Yasunobu Kawaguchi about Agile and more. I plan on giving a talk at Rakuten while there.

I look forward to arriving in Japan and seeing the beautiful country once again. If you will be in the area or at the conference, get in touch!

Going to São Paulo January 2015: Refactoring and TDD Course….

January 5, 2015

I will be traveling once again to São Paulo near the end of January 2015 where I will be teaching an open enrollment course on Pragmatic Test Driven Development (TDD) and Refactoring Jan 28th and 29th. I will be presenting an enhanced 2-day version focusing on the primary points for Clean Code, Refactoring and TDD. […]

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Israel bound!

November 30, 2014

The First Israel Conference on Software Architecture asked me to make the trip to talk about Taming Big Balls of Mud and Sustaining Architecture. I agreed and am now thoroughly enjoying myself of the culture, geography, and company the conference provides. I’ll also be teaching a tutorial on Ultimate Agility, Letting your Users do your […]

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Brazil again this year

November 9, 2014

Like my other trips to Brazil, I come for work and enjoy myself of the food, culture, and friends. This past week I’ve been charmed and honored while meeting with some Agile folks at Objective. I was in Maringa talking about Sustainable Architecture and Pragmatic TDD. I traveled back to Sao Paolo to talk with Vagas […]

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JDD in Poland

November 4, 2014

Back at the beginning of October, I visited Poland for the JDD conference. JDD touts itself as the Java enthusiast conference. I’ve attended in the past and was excited to return. This year I gave a talk entitled, “QA TO QA: SHIFTING FROM QUALITY ASSURANCE TO AGILE QUALITY.” I also hosted a workshop entitled, “REFACTORING AND CLEAN […]

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Returning to the Land of the Agile Sun

August 30, 2014

This past February I went to Japan for the AsianPLoP conference and toured around with a colleague. During this time we gave a tech talk to Rakuten.  I am doing a follow-up and teaching a course at Rakuten on Test Driven Development (TDD) and Refactoring.  I also plan on doing some sight seeing and visiting with some old and […]

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Back to Brazil

August 10, 2014

Once again, I’m returning to Brazil. This time I am teaching a Test Driven Development and Refactoring course for Teams that Innovate. As usual, I’m excited to be making the trip and I look forward to taking some time to catch up with some old friends and to make some new ones! I’m also looking […]

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Again at Agile PT #agilept

June 5, 2014

I’ve taken to the skies again. This time I’ve crossed the pond to visit beautiful Portugal for the Agile PT conference. I’ve attended in the past and am excited to visit again. Of course, I’m also looking forward to hanging with Ademar and others that I’ve gotten to know through the years. At this Agile […]

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Taking it to ScrumPLoP

May 17, 2014

ScrumPLoP is happening on May 24th and yours truly will be heading to Denmark to attend. Now this isn’t the first ScrumPLoP. There’s actually been five others before it. I’ve never had the chance to attend, but made an effort to get out there this year. I’m equally excited because I’ll be hanging with Ademar, […]

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